United Methodist Church trial of lesbian pastor begins
Efforts by the homosexual activist group Soulforce to physically block the trial of Ellensburg, Washington, United Methodist pastor Karen Dammann were predictably unsuccessful as 33 demonstrators were simply arrested and carried off, feeling very proud of themselves for accomplishing nothing of consequence.

"It's a great day for going to jail,'' retired Methodist minister Phil Lawson told The King County Journal. "I've resisted injustice and that makes me feel great."

Similarly, said Baptist pastor Brooke Rolston, "I've great pride in the people being taken into that [police] bus. I sense there is a very deep truth being witnessed here. The love of God is deeper than church law."

The most outrageous comments didn't come from protesters outside, but from witnesses inside. One of the first witnesses called in Dammann's defense was Mary Ann Tolbert, executive director of its Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies at Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California. Dammann graduated from the school in 1992 and says she didn't consider herself homosexual until 1996.

"It seems to me if you're going to say one verse in Romans is enough to remove a person, and their calling and all this other stuff is overlooked, then with all due respect, it seems to me you're acting hypocritically," Tolbert told the church court. She compared Dammann, who is charged with "practices declared by the United Methodist Church to be incompatible to Christian teachings" for her lesbian relationship, with Jesus Christ, who also, "disagreed with the religious norms of his time." "You have to be very careful, that you don't replicate the crucifixion of Jesus in what you do," Tolbert said.

Dammann has quite ...

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Launched in 1999, Christianity Today’s Weblog was not just one of the first religion-oriented weblogs, but one of the first published by a media organization. (Hence its rather bland title.) Mostly compiled by then-online editor Ted Olsen, Weblog rounded up religion news and opinion pieces from publications around the world. As Christianity Today’s website grew, it launched other blogs. Olsen took on management responsibilities, and the Weblog feature as such was mothballed. But CT’s efforts to round up important news and opinion from around the web continues, especially on our Gleanings feature.
Ted Olsen
Ted Olsen is Christianity Today's editorial director. He wrote the magazine's Weblog—a collection of news and opinion articles from mainstream news sources around the world—from 1999 to 2006. In 2004, the magazine launched Weblog in Print, which looks for unexpected connections and trends in articles appearing in the mainstream press. The column was later renamed "Tidings" and ran until 2007.
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